Ian Baldwin

November 23, 2015

How Garden Retailers Can Help Kids Get Into Nature

In his latest blog posting, garden retail industry consultant Ian Baldwin says the entire floriculture supply chain should get active in making gardening a rewarding experience for children.

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The diagnostic desk at the Natural Gardener

November 23, 2015

Pest Diagnostic Centers Are Easier To Set Up Than You Might Think

For customers, garden centers can be an intimidating place. Add into that mix the plant they bought that’s now wilted, spotty or distressed, and you have a recipe for disaster. That’s where plant diagnostic centers can turn the negative into a positive educational experience and recommend a course of treatment. The garden center staff become plant doctors providing “prescriptions” for a healthier plant. And while many garden centers have staff members who do this on a daily basis, there are some retailers that formalize the process into designated areas with specialized equipment for diagnosing plant problems and recommending solutions. Two such retailers graciously agreed to share their procedures with us for this story: Chalet in Wilmette, Ill., and The Natural Gardener in Austin, Texas. These are two very different operations. Chalet is diversified in landscape and nursery operations as well as the garden center, and operates a gift shop, pet […]

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November 16, 2015

How To Get More Sales From Your Current Shelf Space

Why don’t garden retailers stock more hard goods or other retail products? A common response is that there’s not enough space in the store. At first glance, this might appear to be true. But a closer look reveals hidden possibilities and techniques that can help you capture more sales without breaking ground for a major expansion of your retail space. Every vigilant national retailer tries to improve sales throughout the year. Some even bring in merchandising teams and regional managers to tour stores, with a critical eye toward helping the retailer improve and gain a consistent edge in growing sales. With multi-store operations, consistency is what they strive for. Why would our industry be any different? Are we looking to constantly improve our displays? Are we analyzing both indoor and outdoor displays? Do we have an achievable plan to drive sales and profits? Some fixes are easy and don’t cost a cent […]

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More than 8 in 10 adults surveyed do not plan on buying flowers in the next 12 months.

November 16, 2015

Use Displays To Boost Shoppers’ Confidence In Growing Plants

The following is from industry consultant Ian Baldwin’s Bits & Bobs blog.  By the end of February 2015, I had already worked with or looked at more than 20 local garden centers (LGCs), helping teams get ready for a strong spring season. One of the greatest challenges facing garden retailers today a changing consumer. We have all heard of the new demographics emerging in the do-it-yourself gardening business: younger customers are tempted but terrified, intrigued but intimidated. Merchandising Has A New Role! The fear of failure is high and not easily overcome, despite strong interest in the end result (like a stylish planter of succulents or luscious home-grown tomatoes). The traditional response from LGCs is to say that they have lots of knowledgeable staff anxious to help the newbies succeed. In fact, LGCs argue that this is their unique, distinguishing competitive feature compared to the bigger and usually cheaper big-box retailers […]

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Matt Zerby of Wasco Nursery

November 16, 2015

5 Tips For Displaying Native Plants From 5 Garden Retailers

Native plants often do not have a lot of visual appeal at the immature stage they're sold at. Matt Zerby of Wasco Nursery asks fellow garden retailers how they handle their native plants displays.

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Greenscape Gardens Team

November 13, 2015

Greenscape Gardens Creates A Brilliant Business Plan From A Feel-Good Campaign

Greenscape Gardens in St. Louis, Mo., has done something quite remarkable in the last two years. By integrating itself with local community organizations and projects, it has found a way to increase demand for native plants while building a customer base that feels empowered to become a part of something worthwhile. Better yet, it’s done so without allocating significant marketing dollars, and instead relies on its customers and its community partners to help tell a story.

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Moana plant yard

November 12, 2015

How To Use Your POS To Price Plants By Quality

On a beautiful spring day, you receive a shipment of impatiens. As you unload them from the truck, you notice that these impatiens are much nicer (bigger, healthier, brighter colors) than the impatiens you already have in your store. Conversely, you get a shipment of impatiens and they are not nearly as nice as the product you already have in your store. However, the impatiens are in the same sized containers and the cost of the product is the same. What’s a retailer to do? Choice No. 1 is you do nothing — you sell all the impatiens at the same price and just know that the nice product will leave the store faster. Choice No. 2 is you sell the impatiens based on their quality. In other words, sell “premium” impatiens at a higher price point and the “starter” impatiens at a lower price point. Use POS To Price […]

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Carol Miller resized for online

November 9, 2015

Why Garden Retailers Stay In Retail [Opinion]

Several years ago, I was on a tour of San Francisco Bay area garden centers. One evening, we visited Far Niente Winery owner Gil Nickel’s private estate. Nickel had also served as president of Greenleaf Nursery, which his parents founded. The estate was private, and we were invited to tour the grounds only because we were in the horticultural industry. As we walked through the lush and stunning gardens that had amazing views of the wine country, someone said in disbelief, “He got all this money from owning a nursery?” Someone else responded, “He struck oil on his nursery.” I’ve no idea if the oil story is true, but I do know several garden center owners were dreaming of a second career that evening. Yet, let’s be honest. If making a lot of money was the main goal of any garden retailer, they probably wouldn’t be a garden retailer. They’d […]

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Steve Bailey

November 7, 2015

Is It Wise To Keep The Staff In The Dark On Finances?

Financial expert Steve Bailey answers a question about what happens when finances are kept secret.

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November 6, 2015

Economic Growth Will Fuel Garden Demand [2015 State Of The Industry]

The aphorism “a rising tide lifts all boats” is associated with the idea that improvements in the general economy will benefit all participants in that economy. The lawn and garden sector is no exception. However, we also know that garden center trends are dependent on a number of influences including seasonality, weather, competition from mass merchandisers and home centers, consumer spending patterns and region. The demand in the U.S. for lawn and garden plants and supplies is also regional and highly dependent on climate and growing conditions, as evidenced when snowy conditions in the northern half of the U.S. this year (and last year) delayed the spring gardening and landscaping season. But conversations with several retailers all across the country this year indicate that many have had strong monthly sales since spring started. Another bit of good news is that this trend is anticipated to continue, with personal consumption expenditures of bedding […]

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Wilsons Newsletter

November 5, 2015

How To Make Your Newsletter More Interesting [Solve My Problem]

Solve My Problem is a series where grower retailers offer advice to their peers. If you would like input for your own challenge, let us know!  How do you come up with fresh ideas for your store’s eNewsletter, so that it does not become redundant? Holly Wilson, Wilson’s Garden Center Advice From Chris McKeown, Bloomin Garden Centre We give our customers a special eMail address to send garden questions. If we receive a lot of eMails on one particular subject, we’ll address that topic in the next week’s newsletter. We also communicate with the rest of the sales crew to get feedback to see what customers are asking about. Advice From Diane St. John, Natureworks We talk on Monday about what issues customers have been asking us recently. We also mention the garden tasks we are all personally doing at our houses and what issues and successes we have. We […]

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